Mike ErvinThere was a mystery entrée on my aunt’s dinner plate in the nursing home. It looked sort of like a hunk of meatloaf sandwiched between two pieces of yellowish sandpaper.

Was it lasagna? Or maybe a sad attempt at enchiladas? My aunt seemed to recall that whatever this main course was, it had a fancy Spanish name on the menu — something like fiesta whatnot. The nursing home dietician was quite adept at giving the cuisine fancy names. One night they served a pork “choppette,” which looked like some kind of ground meat vaguely molded into the shape of a mini pork chop. Another night they served “Jefferson” noodles, which appeared to be the buttered noodles of previous nights, minus the butter.

But this latest unidentified flying entrée probably did have a Mexican name because check out this statistic I came across recently:

* Ninety-three percent of American nursing homes have fewer than 11 Latino residents.

So that means it’s not just the Republican party that needs to step up its marketing efforts to sell itself to the growing Latino population. The nursing home industry is woefully behind, too. But if they play their ethnic cards right, they can tap into a vast new pool of cripples and old people to impoverish and lock up.

But it’s going take a whole lot more than the half-assed execution of some hijacked Taco Bell recipe. It’s going to take some serious, well-planned and well-executed cultural appropriation.

The first challenge for nursing administrators is to make their facilities feel like home for Latino people when they come for a tour. Therefore, every nursing home should be well stocked with rice-and-beans scented aerosol spray. There should also be a generous supply of piñatas kept in storage. These piñatas should be strategically hung about as a proactive, precautionary measure whenever someone appears on the tour list whose last name ends with the letters e-z or even e-s.